Event Preview | Brewed Food 2017 Tour
Image courtesy of Brewed Food
Jensen Cummings is nothing, if not passionate about craft beer and great food. The enthusiasm for his latest venture, Brewed Food, is jumping out of the receiver, as we chat over the phone about his upcoming events in Seattle, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Louisville. Each event, hosted by Brewed Food and local restaurants and brewers, are a craft beer and food lover’s dream. The menus feature everything from Koji Coulette Steak and Malted Barley Risotto, Bourbon Barrel Stouts and Summer Ales. But Cummings is clear: This is not a beer dinner. Don’t expect a few different courses paired back to a handful of brews. This is something much larger. This is a movement – and he wants you to be a part of it.
“It started because I was very interested in taking beer and food to the next level,” Cummings, who is both a chef and a Certified Cicerone, explains. “A few years ago I finally realized I shouldn’t be cooking with beer or, starting engagement with beer in the bottle. I needed to understand context and history of food I want to cook, and their techniques, and start doing that with beer. It was a lightbulb for me. I needed to stop cooking with beer, and I needed to start brewing food.”
So Cummings set out on a quest to explore how one cooks food by means of brewing techniques. He searched online articles, watched YouTube videos, read through various publications, and without luck. So Cummings took matters into his own hands, and began to experiment brewing food – the result being Brewed Food.
“We are the bizarre world kitchen for craft beer and food. We’re the vanguard of what’s possible and what’s not possible in beer and food,” Cummings explains, who runs the operation out of Denver, Colorado.
Brewed Food now finds themselves in uncharted territory. As they write the playbook on how to brew your dinner, the team is constantly testing recipes with anywhere from four to six variables, knowing that some of those experiments are bound to fail. But Cummings says that the team is “failing forward” – as any experiment that doesn’t turn out as hoped will at the very least be educational, and a learning point for the next dish.
The latest venture of Brewed Food is taking Cummings out of the kitchen. The Brewed Food team is hitting the road this spring to showcase what they have learned and created through their techniques – with help from craft brewers and local chefs – through four cross-country events. It all started by Brewed Food connecting with Fremont Brewing of Seattle, Wrecking Bar Brewpub of Atlanta, Rhinegeist Brewery of Cincinnati and Goodwood Brewing Company of Louisville.
“We connect with the breweries first, figure out what brewers we want to work with and then have them connect us with chefs,” Cummings explains. “We get brewers on board first and then ask who are the chefs in town that like to do cool stuff and that are forward thinking. They know who checks all those boxes.”
This year, Trove of Seattle, Staplehouse of Atlanta, Salazar Restaurant of Cincinnati and Royals Hot Chicken of Louisville checked those boxes. Once those restaurants were tapped by the respective brewers, they got to work. The events were kicked off with a call between the brewer and chef of each city and the Brewed Food team, the call being an opportunity for Cummings to share what he has learned in the kitchen. From there, the chefs got to work in creating their menu with their newfound techniques.
Now, it’s nearly time for the chef’s to debut their creations. It will be the first time anyone, including Cummings, tastes their brewed menu.
“I get to be on the other side of the table experiencing something completely new,” Cummings explains. “Chefs create things that I couldn’t have thought of. They’re way smarter than I am. I am by far the least talented chef on the tour – which is the way I want it. Food in each city is so dynamic and so different. But that is the point of this. We’re the stewart of new idea. It’s the teacher turning into the pupil.”
Though each dish will be paired with a beer from their partnering brewery, Cummings emphasizes once again that this is not a beer dinner.
“This is not a beer dinner. This is inspiration between chef and brewer, and more in depth from what you’ve expected before,” he says. “There’s a lot more talking at this than most beer dinners. Guests are going to be immersed and interactive in the process. It’s not the obligatory chef come out and read the menu. There’s something behind how and why this became what it is. For us that’s the most exciting part.”
It’s not too late to experience these dinners for yourself. Seattle will kick off the tour on May 22, followed by Atlanta on June 4, Cincinnati on June 21 and, finally, Louisville on June 25. Tickets are available on the Brewed Food site. The events will undoubtedly be daring, experimental, delicious, informative, and individual.
“Every bite is different. We do things during the dinner – put the guest in the position to explore own palate and own experience,” says Cummings. “It is separate of everyone else.”
Needless to say, we cannot wait to explore our palate.